LeBron James leaving the Heat to return to the Cavaliers in free agency was certainly a surprise, but it would have been downright shocking had he done so after winning a second straight NBA title.
Miami was crushed by the Spurs in the NBA Finals, however, which likely made LeBron’s decision to leave that much easier.
But make no mistake — the outcome of that championship series had a huge impact on LeBron’s decision. So much so, in fact, that James himself has no trouble admitting that things might have turned out differently had Miami been able to three-peat as champions.
LeBron James concedes it would’ve been much harder for him to return to the Cavaliers had the Miami Heat won a third consecutive championship in June, he told CNN’s Unguarded with Rachel Nichols in an upcoming episode.
“It’s a greater chance, for sure,” James said. “It would be hard to leave back-to-back-to-back championships and try to go for four. But obviously you really can’t live and think of what may have happened. I’ve always been a person kind of live in the moment.”
Honestly, this is nothing more than common sense.
Had the Heat managed to win last season’s championship, there would have been no reason for LeBron to return to Cleveland so soon. He would have rightfully believed that his best chance to win was with Miami, and it would have been extremely difficult to abandon a team that just won three straight titles, when the opportunity to win four in a row would have been too tempting to pass up.
But after seeing his Heat so thoroughly dismantled by the Spurs in the championship round, and with no options for real roster improvement on the horizon, the choice to return home to Cleveland was made that much easier.